How To Awaken, Access And Activate Your Intelligence ─ From The Inside Out

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How To Awaken, Access And Activate Your Intelligence ─ From The Inside Out

What is intelligence?

Intelligence has been defined in many ways by a variety of experts, with definitions including the "capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving..."

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For a summary of the range of expert thought on intelligence, explore Wikipedia’s discussion, if you wish.

Yet, since intelligence naturally varies with individuals and depends on their circumstances in life, you probably already have some sense of what intelligence means to you.

How can you awaken, access, and activate your own intelligence?

Another approach to intelligence...

So you know what to expect, this article does not assume that your intelligence is based on credentials, IQ, genetics, or accomplishments.

Instead, you’ll find ways to understand and demonstrate what makes you unique by acknowledging, developing, and expressing your own intelligence at whatever level you have, now and later.

In other words, intelligence is a process that you can access, influence, and strengthen through your actions.

I believe intelligence is closely tied to your potential, your power, or your ability to do something.

Though you may not know exactly what that is in advance, the adventure and awareness come as you use your freedom to act and take whatever small steps are possible.

Discovery can vary with your willingness to move forward, motivation, values, or just curiosity. It also varies with how you define and redefine your goals and purposes over time.

Your intelligence is calling for your attention.

Stay alert to what’s going on in your heart, body, and mind as you progress by expanding insights and applying your powers. Continue being honest about what’s important and interesting to you.

Considering your purpose and priorities at appropriate times will also prepare you to adapt your behavior to your authentic needs, others’ influence, and the environment or cultures that surround you.

Think to grow your intelligence.

In addition to purpose and priorities, think about why you want to do things in order to make intelligent choices. As you become a little clearer about why you want to do something, how to do it will follow more easily.

Implicitly, these processes of awakening, accessing, and activating your intelligence involve appreciating the interconnections in your life which understandably can be somewhat complex, or even overwhelming at times.

For focus now, then, just identify the top two or three interconnections that are most crucial. Examples might include aspects of family responsibilities, love relationships, social and collegial connections, and work requirements.

Rationality and emotions.

Enhancing your critical thinking can also sharpen focus and choices. You can also explore and strengthen how you use critical thinking skills. Given the many examples, choose the top three to five skills you want to add or improve.

To ensure against bias or a "one way" of thinking, avoid embracing only rationality or objectivity, neither of which is entirely possible. Often, preference for such thinking assumes that objectivity is the ideal.

Although an objective approach is a useful criterion for making choices, being completely objective is unlikely, given individual capacities, experiences, and filters.

In his long-time best-selling book "Thinking Fast and Slow," Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman analyzes two modes of thought: "System 1" and "System 2."

System 1 is fast, instinctive, and emotional. System 2 is slower, more deliberate, and more logical.

Examining these two systems can help you appreciate how you think or use your own intelligence, helping you be more alert to the power, depth, and meaning of how your emotions add a crucial component to understanding, decision making, and action.

According to psychologist, neuroscientist, and author Lisa Feldman Barrett, emotions are guesses or predictions constructed, at the moment, they are based on prior knowledge, experience, and external information.

Seemingly miraculously, your awareness of them reflects the firings and responses of billions of neurons in your brain and other parts of your body, such as your gut.

So, take those gut feelings seriously, along with other physical cues you notice.

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In order to strengthen your use of Kahneman’s System 1, you should also assess your emotional intelligence (EQ).

One way to do this is to think about and adapt the behaviors psychologist Daniel Goleman identified as the 13 signs of emotional intelligence in order to empower yourself and improve your relationships.

According to Goleman, the five main aspects of emotional intelligence are as follows:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Skills

Similarly, you can strengthen your use of Kahneman's System 2–based actions by working on your cognitive capacities.

Ways to do this can include:

  • Sustaining your attention
  • Applying inhibitions appropriately
  • Working on your information processing speed
  • Exhibiting intellectual flexibility and control
  • Attending to multiple matters simultaneously
  • Improving your working memory
  • Forming categories
  • Recognizing patterns

After considering the information above, identify about three or four skills related to your present situation that you’d benefit from adding to or improving.

Promote your potential by staying awake to your powers.

Living in complex and dynamic work, learning, and personal environments, as most of us do, requires continuing to develop and access your intelligence.

What’s reassuring is that the brain is designed for lifelong learning, just as the body continues to benefit from exercise.

For authentic focus and satisfying outcomes, start with who you are and what you truly want. That clarification will guide you in organizing and making your main choices and actions.

Why authenticity? I think being true to yourself makes for efficient and effective choices that avoid detours and distractions that don’t relate to what’s important to you. After all, time is not elastic.

This value of authenticity is why I encourage you to start from the inside out, where your powers are.

Awaken, access, and activate what awaits you for a life of meaning and success that benefits you and others. Then you’ll be able to appreciate your intelligence and enjoy its value ─ as well as your continuing development.

As a summary, here’s my quick description of what I think intelligence is:

  • Common sense (good judgment)
  • People sense (being effective with and enjoying others)
  • Learning sense (ability and interest in acquiring knowledge, understanding, and skills)

Now, I encourage you to add your own definition to aid your commitment to use and further strengthening your intelligence.

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Ruth Schimel, PhD, is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series on Amazon. Obtain the bonus first chapter of the upcoming, Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future on her website, where you’ll also find your invitation for a free consultation.